April 29 2023: Financial Times, How To Spend It: JMB in Opening Shot

TENDER IN THE NIGHT In December 1984, photographer Jeannette Montgomery Barron travelled to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s studio on Great Jones Street, carrying only her camera, a light and three rolls of film. Her set-up was simple: a plain wall, some of his paintings, the shadow cast by a birdcage he kept in his studio. One sitting led to another, this time at The Factory with his friend Andy Warhol. Both sittings, from 1984 and 1985, are brought together for the first time in a new book, alongside an essay by Italian artist Francesco Clemente. In contrast to the myriad posed and highly stylised photographs of the pair, Barron’s naturalistic images capture a more subtle dynamic: a shared sense of melancholy, a gentle and tender friendship. The secret to her success, writes Clemente, was that she didn’t treat her subjects like celebrity artists but rather “as poets, emerging timidly from darkness to the realness and fragility of body and soul”. BAYA SIMONS

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